Pretty much the only reason to have a website is to win leads. Leads that you can then convince to become your clients. So where do good leads come from for accountants and bookkeepers?
Well that's what this blog post is all about based on our experience working with and talking to some of the fastest growing accounting firms and bookkeeping businesses around the world.
The primary and most consistent source of leads is referral.
This will be no surprise.
But the interesting thing is that in my experience I've found accountants and bookkeepers often pursue 'easier to execute' channels such as throwing money away on a direct mail campaign to business PO boxes or a brief DIY Google Adwords or SEO campaign – the results are usually poor – but then they can rest easy knowing that at least they tried and that marketing 'as usual' doesn't really work.
I suggest that the marketing campaigns that you can 'run from your desk' with little effort may not be the best campaigns or the best use of your time as an accountant or bookkeeper. They seem appealing but often generate a low return and worse don't deliver any ongoing benefits!
My accountant recently set me a KPI that is designed to deliver a consistent and ongoing stream of leads to my business. It's one of four KPI's that appear at the very top of the P&L forecast he created for me.
It's called 'Good relationships'.
And I need to have 25 of them in place this year.
A 'Good relationship' is defined as someone I keep in touch with every 30 - 45 days who believes in me, what I do, and frequently refers me business.
These relationships don't come easy. They take time to build. And they require a good deal of trust as they're not going to recommend me if the work I do is not up to scratch.
So if you're good at what you do. You deliver clear benefits in time or money earned or saved. Then surely there's people out there that will refer you work, for no incentive, IF you make some effort to stay top of their mind for your business category.
It might just take some boldness on your part to get out there and sell what you do to people you've never met.
So who could these potential referrers be?
- Local bank managers or financial advisors
- Mortgage brokers
- Other Accountants / Bookkeepers
- Software suppliers
- Business associations
- Business finance companies
The best type of referral relationships are often those where what you do helps the referrer 'look good' or 'deliver better' on their promise. A genuine win-win.
Put yourself in your local bank manager's shoes... they see dozens of business owners a month, each with their own challenges and struggles. If you can help that business owner become more efficient or make more profit, then you actually create a better / more profitable customer for the bank.
You get paid. The bank gets paid. It's a win win.
I'll write some more on other lead generation options in the near future. To stay in touch feel free to follow me on Twitter or join our recently created LinkedIn Group where I'm happy to answer your questions.
All the best.